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IMPRESSIONS OF EGYPT.

ITS HISTORIC INTEREST

WITH THE NEW ZEALAND

TROOPS.

The following impressions o£ Egypt ana details of the work dona by our troope there are described in the following interesting letter kindly banded to us by Mr 0 Hal!, of Akaroa:—

"Wβ had rather a monotonous time on the boat oaused by the slow Bpeeci set up by the orniaerp, who had to aearoh the ocean before we could advance, our average speed being about 11 knots. Things were livened up a bit over the Emden. and the crossing of the line, tbis later proved a great day's amusement, officers and privates sharing their ducking together. In faot, the officers from the Colonel down enjoyed it immensely. On the Brd December, we set foot on Egyptian soil. The regiment moved

straight off from Alexandria to Cairo, a distance of about 170 miles Mao and I, along with 17 others, remained behind and escorted the ammunition, Bomp 9,000,000 rounds, through. This we did at night time, and with loaded rifles at our side. We did not even take off our equipment, but snatched what sleep we cculd with it on, so there must have been some risk in the undertaking. December 18th saw us rejoin our regiment at Zietoun, and the first leave we got I went straight out to the Pyramids and Sphinx, and what wonders they are. Never did I think that 1 would ever have the honour of witnessing these marvels of Egypt. One coo just stand in front and gaz9, and when you learn that the Pyramids were built about 5000 years ago by 80,000 men in the epaoa of 30 years, it makes you marvel more. The atone was carried by human labourers about 15 miles across the desert. No wonder (be Sphinx riled Napoleon when be came across it. When this great soldier found that he could not build anything to approach it, he turned his cunnona on this stone man's head and blew off the nose, which to tbip day is missing.

Mosquas which and unci here are also groat to sea, beaded by the Mahomet AH Mosque, a pbotograi-b of which appoared in the N.Z. "Weekly Press " in January, i 8 one where splendour can be seen that makes? the eyes dazzle. Thia Mosque is built entirely of alabaster, and inside there are some thousands of candles throwing forth different coloured lights. Another historic sight is the old Napoleon furts, now occupied by Egyptian soldiers. Then there is the Citadel, where Lord Kitchener has the mean? of blowing Cairo off the map. The Citadel is just the plaoe for any defence. It commands a view of the whole ef Cairo for miiea around, and the guns are so placed that in ten would be " a has been* town. Old historic sights are too numerous to mention, so Mr Hall you will have to wait for descriptions by word of mouth on my return. I daresay you have beard a description of our encounter with the Turks down the Canal, Well, if you have not, I will give the details of our regiment's doing. For a week or so up to the 25th January life had been growing very slow in camp with nothing to look forward to but a route march across the desert, varied now and again with night work, such as sentry work, etc. Well, on the last mentioned date the camp was thrown into a great uproar, news bad come through that on the morrow we were to proceed to Ismailia, a place about 77 miles from here, on the banks of the Canal. Oh receiving the above news men cheered and cheered, bands played patriotic songs, officers did hakas, in fact, the whole camp carried on like children at the prospect of a pcrap. At 1 30 p.m. on the 26th January saw us entrained for Ismailia, reaching there about 11.30 p.m., we at once put up rough bivouacs for the night. Every 'morning now we were up and waiting to hear the report of the advance of the Turks. All ctutuoes of a fight seemed to be dashed to the ground on the 80th January When we pi'cbed t°nts we all thought that t.he base carap had been shifted from Zeitoun to Ismailia. This, however, prcved falpe, for on February 2nd wp wero under orders for Alfodan, where the Turks were reported to be advancing. We entrained at 10 a in;, and At 11 a.m. saw us at Alfodnn. We at once, on detraining, started throwing up protection works for troope detraining and going across the Ganal, the distance being some 800 yards. After this work bad been in hand for about half an hour we were or dered to cross the Canal and man the trenches, as the Turks were advancing rapidly. Tbis was done in a very Bhort space of time, everyone keeping very cool and collected, Nothing eventful happened until 4 pm. Wed nesday, Bcd February, when rifle fire opened on our right flank. At the first shot we were up, and bad our rifles ready for aotion before one could say Jack Robinson. Once more we were disappointed, for the Turks did not advance far enough around the hill for us to test our marksmanship. The trenches on our right were occu pied by Ghurkas, and they were much disappointed at the hasty retreat by the Turks, the whole affair lasting about fifteen minutes. At 6 p.m. the same morning the Turks opened fire with their artillery on a signal station about 100 yds on our right. They fired about twenty shots, hitting their mark) four times without doing any damage of any account. There happened to be in the Canal at this plaoe a British gunboat, and after the Turks bad been firing for about 10 minutes, ehe responded with one shell, followed in five minutes ,with six in quick succes sion. The next eight witnessed by us through field glasses was the Turks lumping their gun over the hill on one whee , a British ebell having ac

counted for the other, After this we beve an idea wby British gunnery is feared all the world over. It was a great experience for ns to ccc live shells bursting oat of the danger zone

Tnurday was a quiet day, so Friday morning we were sent out to try and discover the trenches of the enemy. This we succeeded in doing, but tbe only eign left of them was some old clothing, blankets covered with fleae, lice, and blood; the latter showing thafe there must have been some wounded, but the Turks had carried them away along with their dsad (if any). We also found several British shells right in their trenches, showing the remarkable accuracy of our gun nere. Our time in the tenches ex tended over the period of seven days, but nothing further happened, the Turks having been quite satisfied with their first reoeption. Prisoners still oontined to some in, mostly deserter?, who, when put into ft fcenfc, laughed and talked and seemed to enjoy it very much, being taken prisoners. Poor beggars ! They told us they had not had a wasb for thirty days, and I *hink a drink for nearly a3 long One chap drank 3 pints of water straight on end, and I think he could have managed another three, but he was told that too much at a time was not good for him, so he took out a cigar ette and seemed thoroughly at home He explained to us that there were undreds more who did not want to fight, but had been foiced to or stand the risk of stopping a bullet at the bands of German officers. Our time at the trenches would have proved dreary'had it not been for the afore said Gburkas, who caused us no end of exoitement showing us tbe way they use their kaife which has made them «o famous at the front. These men from India can separate the bead from a sheep with one slight blow, and can split a man in two with another. I , is said fhat these Jap like little fellow? when about 100 yards from an enemy p trench, drop their rif'ios and go forth with only their knife as a weapon. They shield off the opponents' bayonet with the left band and deal the death blow with the right. This explains why so many Gburkas have to return with wounded and cut-about left arms.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19150511.2.12

Bibliographic details

IMPRESSIONS OF EGYPT., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3458, 11 May 1915

Word Count
1,424

IMPRESSIONS OF EGYPT. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3458, 11 May 1915

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